Taxotere Eye Problems Result In Lawsuits Against Sanofi Over Failure to Warn About Breast Cancer Drug Risks

Plaintiffs seek to consolidate all Taxotere lawsuits over eye problems before one judge for pretrial proceedings.

With a growing number of lawsuits over Taxotere eye problems being filed throughout the federal court system, each involving similar allegations that the Sanofi breast cancer drug caused permanent vision damage, a motion has been filed to consolidate the cases as part of a second mass tort litigation.

Taxotere (docetaxel) is chemotherapy injection approved for treatment of individuals with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, which competes with several treatment alternatives that are equally effective. However, lawsuits allege that Sanofi has known for years that the drug carries a significant eye damage, which may develop quickly, yet patients and oncologists were not adequately warned.

Sanofi already faces more than 12,000 Taxotere lawsuits brought by women who allege they were left with permanent hair loss after the treatment, indicating that false and misleading information was provided that suggested hair would regrow after chemotherapy. However, there are now at least six different product liability lawsuits alleging that Taxotere caused eye problems, known as lacrimal damage, indicating that the issues could have been avoided if proper warnings and information had been provided.

In one recent complaint (PDF) filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of California, Jennifer Burns indicates Taxotere caused eye damage after she underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy for treatment of breast cancer.

“During chemotherapy, she complained of excessively watery eyes. Mrs. Burns was told that her watery eyes were a side effect of the chemotherapy,” the lawsuit states. “Unfortunately, because no measures were taken to intervene, the epiphora continued and she was ultimately diagnosed with permanent canalicular stenosis.”

The lawsuit indicates that part of the reason her doctors did not take any action was because Sanofi failed to adequately warn health care professionals about the risk of Taxotere eye problems. Nearly identical allegations have been raised in about a half-dozen other complaints filed throughout the federal court system since April 2021.

Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the cases, a motion for transfer (PDF) was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on December 1, requesting that the Taxotere eye lawsuits be consolidated before one judge for coordinated pretrial procedures in either the Northern District of California or the District of Arizona.

The request indicates that the cases should be consolidated in a separate Taxotere MDL from the hair loss lawsuits, which have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana since late 2016.

The JPML is likely to hear oral arguments on this new motion involving lawsuits over Taxotere eye problems at its next hearing in January 2022.

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